ZERO Automotive, specialists in electrified light vehicles for the mining space, has unveiled its second-generation Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series-based ZED70 Ti, which features an unprecedented 50 per cent more power, with fast charging in under half an hour. Founded in Adelaide in 2018, ZERO Automotive’s aim is to produce the world’s safest and toughest electric underground vehicle, with founder Dave Mitchell using his extensive engineering background to shape the future of the space. Barminco, an underground mining services company, has signed on as the first customer to accept delivery of the model, while CarBon Leasing & Rentals, a zero emissions leasing company, has confirmed an order of 200 ZED70 Ti’s to be added to its leasing roster, commencing quarter four in 2024. “Mining operations across Australia are facing increasing pressure to transition their fleets to meet ESG targets and the Zero ZED70 Ti represents a new opportunity to do this in the light commercial space,” CarBon Leasing & Rentals chief executive Scott Gillespie says. We’ve already received a great deal of interest and look forward to deploying these innovative EVs next year to a range of customers,” he says. The design features ZERO’s proprietary HEPS (Hazardous Environment Protection System) underbody armour protection, which will help to increase the longevity and safety of the vehicle’s chassis in underground applications. HEPS will also be available as an upgrade for current diesel-powered vehicles. ZERO Automotive has recently enlisted industry leader Joe Di Santo as its new chief executive, amidst wide-ranging expansion plans. “Across the board, mining companies have a desire to lower their environmental impact, ZERO Automotive has been working side by side with many in the industry to provide a solution that caters to the very specific needs of underground mining,” Di Santo says. “Following five years of development, and two years with prototype vehicles under test by Barminco and AusMinerals, we now officially unveil the ZED70 Ti. “We know we have gone above and beyond to develop this ADR approved package that is up for the task. “For instance, our HEPS solution can withstand use in highly corrosive environments, which will genuinely increase the longevity and safety of the vehicles in the long term. “Ultimately, the goal for ZERO Automotive is to become a leader in electrified vehicle drivelines, which is why we are working with trusted industry partners such as ZERO’s Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) battery supplier Toshiba, as we look to continue to develop quality solutions that will improve the sustainability of mining.” “The deal between ZERO and CarBon, marks a significant step towards assisting the mining industry in achieving its zero emission goals while also optimising return on investment. “We know that vehicle life span is a determining factor when it comes to fleet choices for the underground mining sector, the benefits offered via our innovative partnership with CarBon coupled with our HEPS solution, is the perfect example of how responsible business practices and economic success can be achieved,” Di Santo says. Under the bonnet, the ZED70 Ti features a Toshiba 60kWh Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) drive battery, which retains over 70% capacity after 20,000 full-use cycles. The architecture features 22kW Level 2 onboard fast charging and is enabled for Level 3 DC ultra-fast charging, which with a 160kW charger, results in a charging time of less than 25min. The 3 Phase asynchronous electric motor is complete with regenerative braking, with a peak power of 200kW and a peak torque of 1,200Nm. With a focus on safety, the system features an isolator switch, manual service disconnect, a full battery management system, automatic electrical isolating contactors, multiple mechanical HV isolators, fast-acting fusible links, an insulation monitoring device, and an eBrake. All important functions of the vehicle can be monitored by the GeoTab telematics platform. Based on the single or dual-cab Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, the ZED70 Ti features many of the legacy systems that have given the model an outstanding reputation in the mining field, with items such as the transfer case, front and rear suspension, brakes and rear differential carried over from Toyota.